+

In early 2005, singer Andrew McMahon was living out his rock star dreams.

McMahon and his band, Something Corporate, had already released three full-length studio records, two live DVDs, and a live album. Songs like "If You C Jordan" and "Punk Rock Princess" became staples of the early 2000s emo-pop-punk scene. You might say he was doing pretty well for a 22-year-old.


Here's McMahon (center) and the rest of Something Corporate. Photo from Andrew McMahon.

On June 1 of that year, McMahon's life took a very unexpected detour when he was diagnosed with leukemia.

On the same day he finished recording his debut solo album under the name Jack's Mannequin, he was diagnosed acute lymphocytic leukemia. Luckily, the cancer was in its early stages, and with a stem-cell transplant courtesy of his sister Katie, McMahon went on to make a full recovery.

Photo from Andrew McMahon.

The following year, McMahon founded the Dear Jack Foundation to fight cancer in adolescents and young adults.

In addition to releasing some great music with Jack's Mannequin (and later under his own name), McMahon wanted to use his platform to help others like him diagnosed with cancer.

"When I first heard the words, 'You have cancer,' I never could have imagined what was to follow. ... I survived to tell my story and use this new life to advocate for those who are hearing those difficult words for the first time."

When it comes to cancer, young adults and adolescents are massively underserved.

There's never a "good time" for a scary diagnosis, but nothing prepares you for finding out you have cancer just as you're starting your adult life.

Articles on the Internet containing tips for setting yourself up for financial stability in your 20s are everywhere.

How to start saving for retirement, establishing a budget, and putting aside money for a rainy day are just a few of the suggestions laid out in these articles. There's one item you won't find on any of these how-to-adult advice lists: how to manage life when you get diagnosed with cancer.

So what do you do if you're in that tenuous place between childhood and stability and find out you have cancer? While there's a lot of focus on cancer as it affects children and seniors, you don't hear all that much about how it hits adolescents and young adults just as they're trying to establish their own independence and set out on their own.

Photo from Andrew McMahon.

Cancer survivors face major challenges that last long after the cancer has gone into remission.

One survey of these cancer survivors found that in the years immediately following diagnosis, accessing treatment and insurance were obstacles to getting on with their lives. Additionally, many faced major financial concerns.

On average, survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer spent around $3,000 more annually on medical care than adults who hadn't had cancer. Couple that with annual income that falls about $2,250 lower than the cancer-free population, and it makes for a really rough start to adulthood.

That's what McMahon and the Dear Jack Foundation wanted to take on — outreach to the 70,000 people ages 15 to 39 who will be diagnosed just this year.


Since its founding, the Dear Jack Foundation has helped fund scholarships for young survivors, added more than 1,000 names to the bone marrow registry, and drawn attention to this sometimes forgotten demographic.

And now, to celebrate 10 years of being cancer-free, the Dear Jack Foundation is launching a social fundraising challenge.

They're calling it the 72k Challenge, and the goal is simple: raise one dollar for the estimated 72,000 adolescents and young adults who will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

While McMahon and his fans have used Aug. 23 (the date he received the life-saving stem cell transplant) as an occasion to celebrate and bring awareness to cancer patients, in 2015, they're raising the bar.

McMahon performs in the audience during the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

“Ten years ago this August, I was transplanted with life-saving stem cells. When I first heard the words, 'You have cancer,' I never could have imagined what was to follow," said McMahon in a press release (emphasis added). “The trajectory of a life is forever altered by those three loaded words. Unlike many friends I've met along the way, I survived to tell my story and use this new life to advocate for those who are hearing those difficult words for the first time."

Additionally, along certain stops on McMahon's fall tour, attendees can get swabbed for the bone marrow registry.

The Dear Jack Foundation's 72k Challenge runs until Dec. 31, 2015.

Learn more here:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less